Tuesday, June 5, 2012

7 Lucky Symbols

Here's my audio show on 7 lucky symbols, there meanings, and history.

Bloody Mary

    Some of my friends and I cramped ourselves into a small bathroom in my friend's House when we were young. We ended up saying Bloody Mary (more like chanting it)waiting for anything to appear. Most of us got to scared and were screaming and before anything could appear we knocked each other down trying to get out of the bathroom and then I flipped on the light. And everything was better. Many people have the same experience my friends and I had while growing up.

    Bloody Mary is the children's game of summoning an evil and vengeful witch of the same name. This is done by standing in a bathroom, with one candle lit and calling the name "Bloody Mary" into the mirror three times in a row.
It is only the bravest of children who would attempt to participate in this game.
  • eyes being ripped out by the witch.
  • found with claw marks all over body.
  • disappear mysteriously from the bathroom and end up in the mirror with the witch for eternity.
  • view the horrifying image of the witch appear in the mirror.
  • driven insane or dropping dead on the spot at the appearance of the witch in the mirror.
  • suffer terrible claw marks all over face.
  • Calling out "I stole your baby Bloody Mary" into the mirror.
  • Calling out "I killed your baby Mary Worth" into the mirror.
  • Calling out "I believe in Mary Worth" into the mirror.
  • Turning around between one to one hundred times in front of the mirror.
  • Blowing the candle out and calling out to summon the witch in the dark.
  • Mary Worth
  • Mary Whales
  • Hell Mary (for the appearance of Satan)
  • Bloody Mary Worth
  • Mary Worthington
  • These names are not so commonly used. The main name used is Bloody Mary.

    The most common story told is that Mary Worth was a witch that lived over 100 years ago who dabbled in the black arts. She was found out and executed. However this does not tie in with a child or baby which is often mentioned in the ritual of summoning her.

    The most common story told is that Mary Worth was a witch that lived over 100 years ago who dabbled in the black arts. She was found out and executed. However this does not tie in with a child or baby which is often mentioned in the ritual of summoning her.

It is believed that by taking part in this game, and summoning the witch, it would have 

one of the following terrible consequences:

Some variations of the game are:

There are also variations on the name Bloody Mary:
    The history of the children's game Bloody Mary is a difficult one to extract from the large amount of mixed up legends and history that over the years has become the main basis for the story surrounding the game.
The other story accompanying the ritual is a local woman was involved in a fatal car accident nearby, her face horribly mutilated. She reappears in the mirror when summoned with that same horrific face.

    It is largely believed that the origins of the names "Mary Worth" and "Bloody Mary" came from a slight mix up of characters from history. There is a lot of speculation as to the names being taken from Mary I, Queen of England who reigned during the Tudor period. Mary Tudor was also commonly known as "Bloody Mary".
Her nickname of "Bloody Mary" became attached to her when she violently executed and burnt people at the stake for heresy throughout her reign of a little over 5 years.
She also was unable to bear children and suffered two phantom pregnancies, this is where it is speculated that the Bloody Mary game involving chanting "I stole your baby" or "I killed your baby" became tangled up with the now known Bloody Mary game.

    One thing we do know for sure is that the ritual of spinning and chanting has evolved from quite a long time ago, when young girls participated regularly in rituals such as this to find who they would marry and when they would marry. There is also the addition of mirrors which were known as being portals to another world, especially during Victorian times. 

Wishful Thinking

    The wishbone is the third member of the great Euro-American lucky charm triumvirate, the other two being the horseshoe and the four-leaf clover. Sometimes called the "merrythought" in the British Isles, the wishbone is a bone overlying the breastbone of fowl, but most especially the chicken and the turkey. It is the custom to save this bone intact when carving the bird at dinner and to dry it over the stove or by the fire or air dry until it is brittle.

    Once the wishbone is dry, it is given to two people, who pull it apart until it cracks and breaks, each one making a wish while doing so. The person who gets the bigger half of the wishbone will have his or her wish come true. If the wishbone breaks evenly, both parties get their wishes. In some families it is said that the wish will only come true if it is not revealed to anyone.

    In its intact form, the wishbone itself does not confer good luck, but it holds the promise of luck to the one who gets the bigger half. Because of its association with conviviality and festive dinners, the wishbone has a long history of use in holiday cards. The wishbone is found on numerous good luck postcards of the 1906-1918 era.

    In the 1930s, the wishbone was a common image on North American good luck coins and one could even buy little gold or silver wishbone charms; but by the 1990s it, like that other "dead animal part," the rabbit foot, had fallen out of favor with the makers of lucky amulets.

Here are some more links that show pictures of wishbones and tell the story of how valuable they were in the early years:

Heads Up!

      "Find a penny, pick it up. All day long, you'll have good luck." This common rhyme refers to an old superstition, and like many superstitions, it has many variations and the reasoning behind those variations are also numerous. Reasons why finding pennies brings good luck range from early beliefs about where metal came from to the notion that money symbolizes power.
Bad things can happen to good people when they least expect it. As a result, people tend to fall back on ancient rituals that seem to ward off disaster. That is, they believe in superstitions. Many superstitions seem to revolve around the struggle between good and evil, and these rituals were designed to swing the balance onto the side of good. Finding a penny and picking it up is a relatively new spin on an old superstition. Many years ago, people believed that metal was a gift from the gods, given to man for protection against evil. That developed into the notion that metal brings good luck. In fact, this idea is partially represented in the practice of hanging horseshoes over their doorways, wearing charm bracelets, and carrying good luck coins. The old wives’ tale of putting a penny in the shoe of a woman on her wedding day comes from a Victorian rhyme: "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a silver sixpence in your shoe." These superstitions were all requests for good luck for the bride. Perhaps because finding a penny was easier than finding a silver sixpence, people made a substitution. Now the saying concludes, "and a lucky penny in the shoe." The penny was intended to be worn in the shoe of the bride to ensure that the newly married couple would always have wealth. The tying of metal cans behind a newlywed couple’s car is another version of the superstition that metal protects and brings wealth.
The saying, "Put a penny wrapped in paper, keep it to avoid your debtors," is another way that metal was thought to bring wealth. Finding a penny is still considered good luck, but some variations of the old wives' tale includes the position of the penny. If the penny is found heads up, it brings good luck. If it is found heads down, it brings bad luck. If the finder gives it to a friend, while it is face down he passes the luck on to someone else and
doesnt recieve the bad luck!

A Touch of Luck

    There are a number of curious gestures and sayings in our modern society that leave us scratching our heads. We have old England to thank for the peculiar practice of crossing our fingers for luck.

    Witches, ghosts, and other supernatural ghouls were very real to people living in the 16th century. Illnesses and bad luck were blamed on these evil forces. Faith in the power of the Christian cross, therefore, was strong. A cough, a sneeze, or even a mention of a cold (thought to be a sign of the plague) was reason enough to cross yourself. The proper way to make the sign of the cross involves four steps -- touch the forehead, heart, left shoulder, then right shoulder with you right hand.
When a suspected witch crossed your path, you could make a cross shortcut by crossing your index and second finger or the index fingers of both hands. This would provide protection and ward off the evil influence. Just like in Dracula movies, it was believed the power of the cross or any religious talisman would combat the forces of darkness. People also wore crosses or carried their Bibles in case they happened upon a nefarious being. A clove of garlic worn around the neck was ammunition against werewolves and bad spirits, and both peasants and nobles attached bells known as "bezants" to their garments, hoping the sound would scare away evil spirits.

     Though many of these beliefs have slowly died, the gestures they inspired have lived on. Let's face it, in today's scary world, we need all the luck we can get. If crossing your fingers, carrying a rabbit's foot, hanging a horseshoe, or rubbing a lucky penny helps you through the day, more power to you!

Here is a link to a website that explains how different cultures view crossing the fingers and also what crossing the arm, and legs also means: http://www.seiyaku.com/customs/fingers-crossed.html.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Step on a Crack........

Did you finish the title in your head? Well, here’s one that everyone knew to chant while walking down the sidewalk:

Step on a crack, you’ll break your mother’s back.

This has been recorded in print since at least the late 19th century, often with a few additions:

Step on a line, break your mother’s spine.
Step on a hole, break your mother’s sugar bowl.
Step on a nail, you’ll put your dad in jail.

So the thing to step on here is probably a bowl. Everything else will kill people or, at least, uproot your life considerably. One can survive the loss of a sugar bowl. Health nuts will even say that you’ll benefit from it.

Stepping on cracks has long been subject to superstition. In addition to the danger of breaking your mother’s back, a 1905 book, Superstition and Education, lists several other grim superstitions: that if you step on a crack, you will have bad luck, or that you will not get a surprise at home that you otherwise would. These are all, in any case, some of those superstitions that no one really believes. While the good luck brought from a penny can be debatable, most kids figure out right away that people who step on cracks in the sidewalk don’t come home to dead mothers and don’t get chased by bears!

Here's a Yale journal that was done on the superstition on breaking your mothers back, Read it for an interesting racial side to the old rhyme:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Breaking the Reflection

Back in the kiddy day's one of the biggest insult you could use was that the mirror broke because you are so ugly! But what happens if you accidentally break a mirror? many people say you will then have seven years of bad luck.

Centuries ago, people believed that a person's image in a mirror was actually a reflection of the person's soul, much like the way Native Americans felt that a photograph stole part of their soul and that's why they resisted being photographed. Further, this is why vampires can't see themselves in the mirror, because they have no soul. Anyway, believing that their soul was in the mirror, breaking a mirror meant that a part of the soul would not be able to reunite with the body. Obviously, without a portion of the soul, a person would be in for some bad luck. Many people agreed that the average amount of years for bad luck is seven. This is also how long it takes the body to rejuvenate itself. This comes from the Romans. They believed that a person's health and fortune changed every seven years.

  Along with many centuries of stories about mirrors, it is easy to see how mirrors came to be mysterious yet helpful tools in the ancient and new societies of today!

Here's an ancient story about a youthful mirror: 

Good Luck Rabbit

             Some say that the left hind foot of a rabbit is lucky! But where did this belief come from? I first heard of this form of luck on a television show called supernatural, this form of luck appears in other television shows as well such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and other “supernatural” shows. Some believe this form of luck to originate from
African-American folk magic, hoodoo. The left hind foot of a rabbit is useful as a charm. Not any left hind foot of a rabbit will do; the rabbit must have been shot or captured in a cemetery. the phase of the moon is also important. Some say that the rabbit must be taken in the full moon, while others hold instead that the rabbit must be taken in the new moon. Some say instead that the rabbit must be taken on a Friday, or a rainy Friday, or Friday the 13th. Some sources say that the rabbit should be shot with a silver bullet, while others say that the foot must be cut off while the rabbit is still alive. So just to make sure you get the luck if a rabbits hind left foot you must; Shoot it with a silver bullet, but only enough to wound it so it is still alive and then cut its left hind foot off. While doing all of this on a full moon, on a rainy Friday the 13th. And if that doesn’t work then you have to do everything again but on a new moon! So who is ready to get a rabbit’s foot charm? I should probably check the moons position on the next Friday the 13th and what the weather will be like!
These are the "rabbit feet" you can get now
at the store for 50 cents so you do not have
to go through all the trouble of
getting one yourself!

Here's a link to a website that talks about the findings of a 53 million year old rabbits foot, and what the ancient uses might have been, so check it out:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Bad Luck Will Rain on You

Today has been a dreary rainy day and it has sparked one of the many superstitions, umbrellas!!
Open an umbrella inside and bad luck will "rain" on you.
Why do so many people believe this? Maybe it's something parents tell there children so they do not play with umbrella inside and break or poke their eyes out! or maybe it is one of these two ancient ideas:

The most common stems from the days when umbrellas were used mainly as protection against the sun. To open one indoors would be to insult the sun god and invite his wrath on everyone in your household.
Another theory borrows from the idea of an umbrella as a protector against the storms of life. If you were to open one in your home, the household guardian spirits might think you felt their protection was insufficient, and then they'd leave in a huff. Then everyone in the house is cursed.

But what i think happened is that somebody somewhere left their umbrella open to dry out, left the house with his umbrella still open and then had some horrific event happen to him. He made a connection to the umbrella and the bad luck and the word spread that the superstition was actually true! Regardless every time I hold that umbrella in my hands I can't help but to think in the back of my head to "not open this up inside or I will get bad luck!" I surely can't be the only one!

Check out some more information on the umbrella superstition: 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Seven Years to Pass

                     The other Night my four year old sister was chomping away on gum when she accidentally swallowed it. right then and there her older sister who is seven exclaimed "oh no! It's going to stay in your tummy for seven years!" she then had a look of mortification until I told her that the gum will not stay in your stomach for seven years and will come out right on schedule, which seemed to ease her distress. It’s hard to find anyone who hasn’t heard of the suspicious claim about gum staying in your stomach for seven years, usually told when you were a child, but where dose this tall tale come from? My guess is years of parents shaking their fingers at their children trying to teach them not to eat non-food items. Then friends tell friends on the playground and then it spreads like wildfire! But why does the tale of chewing gum staying in our stomachs for seven years stick with us throughout our childhood and into our adulthoods where we then give misleading information to our children? I believe this has to do with the little bit of scare factor, just the thought of something gooey and sticky consuming your stomach for seven years! Is just enough fear for any kid to want to keep that gum up and to remember that rule for the rest of their lives! Then growing up realizing that this bogus tale actually prevented them from swallowing gum and pass the lie down to their children. This could be the reason for so many gum wads stuck to desks, tables, chairs, and most annoying the bottom of my shoe!!!!!

Here's a link to the Mayo clinic on gum: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/digestive-system/an00896

Friday the Thirteenth

It's the most widespread superstion in the United States today. Some people refuse to go to work on Friday the 13th; some won't eat in restaurants; many wouldn't think of setting a wedding on the date. Millions of Americans have paraskevidekatriaphobia, the fear of Friday the 13th, these people experience a very old superstition. Exactly how old is difficult to say, because determining the origins of superstitions is mostly guesswork. Some believe the origins come from the Scandinavian who thought that the number thirteen was unlucky because the mythological twelve demigods were once joined by a thirteenth, who was evil and brought pain, and misfortune to humans. There are also Christian related roots to the Friday the thirteenth as Jesus was crucified on a Friday and the number of people at the Last Supper was thirteen! And of course, the thirteenth guest was Judas, who was nothing more than a traitor. But are all of these explanations just answers that were seeked out for explaining peoples bad luck on the dreaded day? Hollywood seems to be benefiting from people’s fear of Friday the 13th since there has been countless movies about Friday the thirteenth. Starting in 1980 with the title Friday The 13th then the next year Friday The 13th Part Two then the year after that Friday The 13th Part III then finally Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter in 1984 if only it would have been the final chapter, yet Hollywood keeps throwing out the same old ideas in the same old fashion even with the same old name! The year after Friday the 13th the “final Chapter” Friday The 13th: A New Beginning was released in 1985. Then Jason Lives: Friday The 13th Part VI -1986 Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood -1988 Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan – 1989 Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday (yea, right!) – 1993 Jason X – 2001 Freddy vs. Jason -2003 Then Finally Friday The 13th (didn’t they already use this title?) -2009. I am personally just waiting for the sequels!
A 1993 study published in the British Medical Journal provocatively titled "Is Friday the 13th Bad for Your Health?" With the aim of mapping "the relation between health, behavior, and superstition surrounding Friday 13th in the United Kingdom, its authors compared the ratio of traffic volume to the number of automobile accidents on two different days, Friday the 6th and Friday the 13th, over a period of years. Incredibly, they found that in the region sampled, while consistently fewer people chose to drive their cars on Friday the 13th, the number of hospital admissions due to vehicular accidents was significantly higher than on "normal" Fridays. Their conclusion:
"Friday 13th is unlucky for some. The risk of hospital admission as a result of a transport accident may be increased by as much as 52 percent. Staying at home is recommended."

Do people really experience bad luck on Friday the 13th or do they just contribute every little thing that goes wrong to the date whereas on a different date they wouldn’t pay much attention to the small misfortune?

Here's a link to abc's bit on how Friday the 13th got so scary: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/MindMoodResourceCenter/friday-13th-origins-phobia/story?id=11395381#.T70tzNym-8A